Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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It's a SKINK
A few weeks ago, I began a second career as a Veterinary Assistant, a receptionist/kennel keeper on Saturdays and occasional Sundays. The job is rewarding (emotionally more than financially), and I have the opportunity to work with pets, which I've missed since moving away from the FMCA.

Dr. Rhody of Lakeside Veterinary Center in Laurel, MD cares for all types of pets, from a bobcat (!) to a Blue-toungued Skink (not "skank," which I accidentally called it, to the amusement of my new coworkers). Lakeside VC is well-respected, and I enjoy the job, despite having to master a computer that inisists it's 1985 (they're changing over to a new one). It's a nice job, low-maintenance, by which I mean I don't take the work home with me, literally or psychologically. It is also labor-intensive; I have a feeling of accomplishment when I get done.

Now, if I could just remember which species is which.

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Thanks be to Virginia Woolf, I have always been fortunate enough to always have a room of my own (save those scant months at age ten when my sister and I shared). When I moved out, however, I discovered that living alone, completely alone, can drive you nuts. Within weeks of getting my first real apartment, I adopted a cat, named him Raja, and bought him lots of toys. It’s nice to have another heartbeat in the house.

Raja was joined by a host of cats and kittens I fostered for the FMCA, including one I kept, Cheetah. I also enjoy keeping Tropical fish, who have proven hardy despite my care.

This morning Cheetah was going more berserk than usual, sitting at the window chirping her little “I’m hunting” chirp. I glanced out to see two welcome visitors – brown doves I've been feeding at my new place for the past three years. This year, they have decided on a more permanent spot, nestling (literally) between the curved stems of a Snapdragon plant I bought last week. They have picked a currently unplanted, dirt-filled terra-cotta pot for a nest, and have somehow fashioned the Snapdragon stems into service for cover. The two no longer immediately fly away when I open the door, either. So, soon, it appears I’ll have a family of roomies living on my porch.

For the first time since I relocated to the Washington DC Metro area, the Mall’s famous cherry blossoms will bloom in time for the parade, which takes place this Saturday, March 31. The first two week’s of April promise to be filled with the Japanese cherry trees’ blooms, if the wind slows before then, it should be quite lovely.

So, for the first time since I relocated to the Washington DC Metro area, I will be attending the Cherry Blossom Festival!

More Metro Madness
I got on the Metro last week, and looked over the shoulder of the person in front of me to read a flyer about the proposed Purple Line to run around DC. The idea is an old one, and has resurfaced this time as a “light rail” that will run the circumference of DC, just inside the Beltway. According to an article by Metro DC Future, the two-to-four cab trains will carry the same number of people as three lanes of traffic, shuttling commuters from Bethesda to Tysons in less than half the time it takes by car without traffic. Sounds good to me! It's an environmentally sound solution to our problems, provided they don't go with Coal-produced electricity.

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Metro Madness
Thursdays are usually calm days -- ever notice how the days get easier as the week progresses? I'd had a fairly rough week to begin with; several ten-hour days, plus a new job at the vet's. Thursday, however, started out as a doozie.

First, I was running about a half-hour behind schedule. The DC Metro ride into the work was blessedly uneventful: no panhandlers, no sudden stops, no preachers on board praying for my eternal soul. It was so uneventful, in fact, that my mind wandered and I missed my stop.

No problem. I disembarked at the next station, darted across the platform to a train headed in the direction from which I'd just come. But I sort of got caught in the doors. That is, my briefcase got caught in the closing doors, and propped it open. Now, this happens more than you'd think, given the large number of daily riders and the proportionate number of briefcases. But the doors, which are supposed to reopen like elevator doors in such an emergency, didn't.

I managed to knock it into the subway car with a fist. Still, my poor briefcase is a little banged up. And now I don't have the luxury of giggling at everyone else this happens to.

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Salmon Pate
By the way, the pate was ok, but the parsley made it taste a little sandy. Plus, all that cream cheese made me miss the bagels.

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Free Flair....
The United States of advertising is hard at work. Each week a pile of coupons, flyers, cards, and other unsolicited bits of former trees stuff my box, despite my letters to the Mail Preference Services. It distracts, it annoys, it catches on the lock.

Among the recycling, occassionally, an interesting piece slips through. This week, a free magazine popped out between the sheaths of newspaper ads. Flair, a quarterly "woman's" magazine, seemed like it was hardly worth it, but I thought I'd flip through on the Metro ride. Though flimsy by more literary magazine's standards, it actually had some informative articles on travel. But where was the catch? Where was the "blow" card asking for subscriptions?

Curiosity drove me to the masthead, where I discovered the awful truth. The magazine is funded, produced, even Copywrited by the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation.

And me, here I am, trying to quit.

Congratulate me on day two, smoke free (again).

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